Done with Crash Diets: 45 Pounds Lost and Getting Better Every Day

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2Before I state anything, I just want to thank Jesus Christ for the opportunity of life and the strength to get through this process. Life is truly a gift from God.

In every group of friends there is the good looking one, the athletic one, the fun one, the quiet one, and of course, there’s the chunky one. I was always the chunky one.

I spent my entire life fluctuating in weight – gaining during times of stress, then running long distances and starving myself to fit into my suit pants again for weddings. It was a burden not only on my body, but on my bank account, as all my clothes would get tight (thankfully the “fitted” look came back into style).


Unfortunately, my favorite foods in life are rice (an Asian staple), soda, pizza, hamburgers, bread, doughnuts, McDonald’s, and any type of dessert. In order to lose weight, I would literally skip meals and run hours on end. I had no idea how much grains and carbohydrates were severely limiting my body shape. For example, I would run 5 miles then drink two sugar-heavy Gatorades, which pretty much would negate my workout. But I had no idea!

Luckily, I randomly read a success story on Mark’s Daily Apple while looking for crash diets online. I was skeptical at first, especially the part about giving up chronic cardio and long distance running, and eating foods with fat, but I was willing to give it a try. Plus, I wanted to impress a girl (it’s always about the girl!) and was the heaviest I had ever been in my life at 210 pounds, at a height of 5’ 8” and a BMI of 31.9 — which meant I was in the “obese” category.

francis 2

So I set my mind to go all in. I had nothing to lose. I cut my carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day and increased my caloric intake of fat and protein. That meant no more pizza, hamburgers, soda, rice, doughnuts, bread, pasta, and french fries. I used The Primal Blueprint for all my guidelines (and thankfully the guidelines were free!).

scaleI’m not gonna lie – the first two weeks were absolutely miserable. I think after around seven days I had the notorious “carb flu” and I felt absolutely miserable for a couple days. And I definitely felt like I had lower energy for the first 10 days or so. But it dramatically got better after 14 days, and every day just got easier after that. You just have to pass the first initial hump.

I slowly started to lose weight.

And definitely had days where I failed. (Doughnuts are seriously God’s gift to mankind.)

My typical diet looked like this:

  • Breakfast: Three to four eggs, over easy.
  • Lunch: Half a bag of frozen broccoli with protein source (either eggs or fish).
  • Dinner: Fish or steak, with broccoli or vegetables.

breakfast and lunch


For exercise, I changed from running 30-40 minutes everyday and lifting weights liked I used to, and followed the Primal guidelines – high intensity, shorter time (less than 40 minutes at the gym), interval training, and I sprint one day. I definitely feel stronger and have less chronic pain in my knees. Also, it’s more fun!

Here’s a side by side before and after in 5 months (May 2014 and November 2014):


And 10 months, (current):

francis before and after

I lost about 45 pounds in five months. I’m currently maintaining around 165 pounds, but I definitely gained some muscle weight. Plus, I easily fit into all my size small clothes!

I feel healthier physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I don’t have to buy new clothes all the time. And I feel more energized throughout the day. It is amazing how much diet and exercise can affect your entire lifestyle and I truly believe if I can do it, anybody can do it. I will forever be thankful for Mark’s Daily Apple and all the great resources and advice it offers! I 100% can testify that The Primal Blueprint worked for an ordinary guy like me and believe everyone should try it to change their lives forever!

Still working on the girl though. We need a Primal book for that.


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62 thoughts on “Done with Crash Diets: 45 Pounds Lost and Getting Better Every Day”

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  1. Great story Francis, and a timely reminder that it’s a long game. Hearty congrats!

  2. Impressive transformation Francis! Thanks for sharing, and congrats on your mental victory too, sticking with your new diet.

  3. Great work Francis! Eliminating chronic pain in the joints is such a huge one. Whenever I stray from primal, my knees hurt too. It’s such a big physical reminder that I need to get back on track and hit up the bone broth. Well done again.

  4. Wow! Great job Francis!!

    And Amen to life being a gift from God!!!

  5. OMG! Only ten months. Awesome job Francis! If that girl didn’t notice you ten months ago, she should notice you now. Very impressed.

    1. Hi Francis – girl here, about your age. I hope no one gets mad that I say this, but I actually thought you were hot before. My current husband has a buddha-ish belly that fills me with so much love and joy. We eat primal and his belly only got bigger and it matters to me not at all – I love it so much. That girl who wasn’t interested the first time around was probably not your girl. Hope you find her.

  6. Wow! Good job, man! I’m definitely inspired by your progress.

  7. Good job and good story, Francis. Your carb flu period was pretty long compared to many reports I’ve heard from others, so well done getting through it.

    Would you say this process has occurred during a period of low or high stress for you? If the former, how will you manage stress when it inevitably returns? If the latter, double well done!

    1. +1 — Great story and I applaud you for sticking with it . . . I always quit those “crash” diets when I started feeling bad.

    2. Hey Rick, thanks for the encouraging words. I definitely lost the weight during a lower stress period in life. I’m starting a new busy job soon, so I hope to keep it up by committing to the gym no matter what and trying to snack on healthier things (almonds, raisins) if I need to stress eat. Maybe I can make an update post at some point because I think you raise a great point about actually doing this in stressful situations.

  8. “It’s all about the girl!” Truer words have never been spoken, my man 🙂

  9. Hmmmm, what do women like in a man? Besides good looks and a sense of humor (which you clearly possess), give me a man who likes to cook! Your newly developed culinary skills will serve you well as you continue your primal journey and look to attract a primal mate! 😉

  10. Great work Francis–and some people will think you happened upon MDA by “chance”–when you know it was providence!

    You have inspired me–I do all the same but have neglected strength training–gonna hit the weights and domore bodyweight exercises–I’ve got 10 to go to get to your accomplishment!

  11. Well done, Francis! Nothing improves health as effectively as ditching all those conventional wisdom foods, that only hold us back and make us all tired and ill. Thanks for sharing your story, many happy, healthy years to you 🙂

  12. Good job, Francis! Speaking as a girl who is married to a very witty man, your faith and your sense of humor will be an asset, especially in tense times. Best of luck!

  13. Francis, great story. Congrats! I’m with you on the doughnuts. Voodoo up in Portland, Or. has a Maple Bacon to die for. Once a year now I get one.

  14. Awesome Francis! It is even easy to cook and eat as you have clearly shown. I love how people will ask me what I eat and it really is very simple. But it is a hard step to back away from the foods that are everywhere we go, and change our life style but as you can see it was so worth it.

  15. I give you all the credit. Congrats!!!!!!!

    My God could care less whether you weighed 300lbs.

  16. Fancis, What can I say that hasn’t been said above…all good! You took control of your life and just did it for you, N = 1, to see if it would work and it certainly did. You were on the discouragement/no return health protocol many of us fell into. You look healthy and need I add handsome now… Thanks for the pics and the wonderful story told. All the very best, Jacks

  17. Muy inspirador tu relato, me motivaste a seguir con màs disciplina en èste règimen de alimentaciòn paleolìtica.

    Dios te bendiga !!!

  18. Great job and very witty.

    I lived in SF for years and ate a LOT of white rice with all the great Asian restaurants there. I used to eat a big bowl of mixed fruit every morning at work, by lunch time my blood sugar was low and I would be anxious and hyper. Then it was lunch with tons of rice which always calmed me down and had a sedative effect. I just thought I had a screwy metabolism.

    I really miss rice. I had some the other day with a wonderful Korean meal. my weight jumped almost 3 lbs for a day after, it really causes water retention! If you take the rice out Korean food might be the most super healthy cuisine, my favorite.

      1. It is not the same, sadly. I skip the cauli and eat more kimchi and Korean Radish. Really though, a pork belly is a very satisfying cut of meat. I can live without the rice. 🙂

        1. Rice works great in my primal lifestyle. 🙂 I’m asian too, and adding cups of rice back in helped tremendously with body goals.

  19. I think this is one of my favorite stories so far!
    You acknowledge Christ at the forefront. Wow, man. Props.
    Just like Primal Blueprint came along when you least expected it, so will the girl.
    Many blessings.

  20. Good work. You do have to break out of that doughnuts are God’s gift thing though IMHO. They’re not.

    1. A fresh hot donut from a quality donut shop? Definitely a tempting treat. You can’t choose someone else’s kryptonite!

      1. Look, you know what I love? Cream donuts. I don’t know if that’s what they call them where you live but I mean the white powdered donuts with the white fluffy cream inside. Not the yellowish Bavarian cream! The white, fluffy cream. And you know what that’s made of? Probably pure sugar. I barely ever have them, but if someone at work gets donuts and one of those is in there, I’ll eat it. I’ll enjoy it. I won’t beat myself up about it. I’ll love how it tastes. But I’ll have ONE and I won’t think it’s God’s gift to man. And look, I’m a beer guy. That’s MY kryptonite. But as much as I love it, I know it’s not good for me. I still drink it and I’m not judging anyone else for whatever turns them on. I’m just saying that attitude is part of it, especially that early into the journey. And if you put something on that high of a pedestal, you’re likely to slip back.

        God’s gift? Grass fed beef, sockeye salmon. 🙂

        1. God’s gift is free will. We may choose foods from the Creator, grass fed ruminants, wild fish, or give into temptation, cream donuts or commercially packaged treats. If God intended humans to eat Twinkies, he would have sprouted them from trees. Francis has chosen wisely and has been blessed with his personal transformation.

  21. Agree about the donuts…eventually you won’t even miss them! There are so many foods that I truly don’t miss anymore. I would rather feel good.

    1. Yessssss Elizabeth, I couldn’t agree more. My friends say “you have such willpower” and my response is always “it’s not willpower, I KNOW if I eat/drink that, I will feel like crap”. Making that link is the best thing that ever happened to my health. (Donuts are awesome, but I can’t remember that last time I ate one – would 2 or more years ago).

  22. Way to Go Francis! Very inspirational and helpful!

    Blessing to you!

    Francis S. 🙂
    Chico CA

  23. There’s a dating site called where you can look to interact & date people who follow the same eating-plan you do. I really, really wish more Primal/Paleo people were members of this site. Thank you for your story, and best wishes to you, Francis!

    1. That is really interesting Glenda, I’ve never heard of that.

  24. Wow congratulations, easy to read and to the point story
    Please keep us posted about the girl!

  25. I LOVE the way you started. Congrats for being so young and adopting such a healthy lifestyle. It will bless your entire life.

  26. So well done Francis, nice story-telling pictures too. I like that!

  27. Well done for recognising the correlation between what you put inside, and how you look/feel on the outside. Keep up the good work.

  28. Francis – congrats dude! rock on! I also wanted to let you know that your story is extra special to me this week because I my teen son and his friend are carb junkies – and actually some of the their other friends are too – and I always felt conflicted about slamming the “gatorade” – admiring that they drink it (instead cheap soda with HFCS and other junk) and admired that they are least thinking they are nourishing their body (you know – the way they promote Gatorade refuels electrolytes) and well, your story here has given me a potent real life example – so thanks so much – and the way you wrote “I wanted to impress a girl (it’s always about the girl!)” will just make it more up their alley too – even though teens and adults can glean from your testimony – so truly, thanks for sharing.
    best wishes

  29. Good work – keep going abd you’ll look like mike chang of six pack abs

  30. Love Friday’s testimonials. Congratulations Francis. Grok On! You are quite right about the initial stall. I keep reminding friends : “If you go natural, you need to give nature time to clean up the mess accumulated before you see positive results. And yes, we are what we eat : ‘Eat doughnuts, become a doughnut.’ ( I remind myself, each time someone hauls out the doughnut treats) (I was raised on French cuisine, pastries are an art form to be savoured. – my kryptonite) .

  31. I loved reading your story and you look great! As someone who got married late, relatively speaking, please remember your failure rate is 100% until you find the right person. So don’t let your track record get you down.

    Fortunately, going primal is not like finding a mate in that one’s attempts, no matter how small, are rewarding!

  32. Great success story. You mentioned a primal book about the rest of the journey. Read “The Primal Connection”. It has great insights that will keep you motivated and focused on your path.

  33. Lucky for you that your metabolism is so healthy you can eat a lot of animal protein. Some of us can’t process that much ammonia waste – MTHFR, COMT and MAOA systems with chinks out here and there. Bully for you and good luck for your continued success – you look great!

  34. Congratulations! Your story is truly inspiring. Nothing to it but to do it. May you have continued success.

  35. Keep girls in your circle of friends. Eventually you’ll meet, and get to know, one that sees their future in you 🙂

  36. Great transformation, you look a lot more masculine! Have fun on your healthy journey. You will find the right companion!

  37. No longer the chunky one, you are now your own group, since you are the good-looking, athletic, and funny one.

  38. To further clarify my above comment:

    MTHFR – methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (NAD(P)H …

    The MTHFR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme plays a role in processing amino acids

  39. You look so much happier in the last photo bub. Keep up the hard work and don’t stop fighting for her!????

  40. Francis! I’m SO proud of you! It takes commitment and perseverance until primal becomes second nature – and even then you still have to keep your habits in training. Keep taking care of yourself. Well done!